It is believed that the first press release was crafted by Ivy Lee in 1906 after the Pennsylvania railroad accident.
A century has since passed and it remains a tool for many companies and PR agencies to disseminate official and important information to the media.
What is a press release?
While some argue that press releases no longer work in the context of modern digital communications as the world takes to citizen journalism, we disagree. This is how we work magic.
What’s in a press release?
Content. Information on what is newsworthy.
However, content needs to match the packaging. An attention-arresting headline is never enough to seal the deal. It needs to be substantiated with noteworthy information that is of value to different media and to their readers or followers.
Having said so, more does not mean merrier. Journalists almost always prefer succinct materials. Therefore, the astuteness in discerning what’s hot and what’s not and the ability to orchestrate different bits and pieces into a concise yet compelling pitch are decidedly invaluable assets of a PR practitioner.
PRoTip: Get creative! Who says a press release needs to be just words of announcement and corporate pictures? Certainly, not us.
How to send press releases to all editors?
We simply don’t advise sending press releases to all editors. Blindly blasting content to all media outlets harms an agency’s credibility and jeopardises future collaboration opportunities. It’s called spamming. While quantity is a salient performance indicator when it comes to publicity, quality and resource management are aspects that must never be compromised.
Plays your cards right and there is a higher chance of the release being published. Focus efforts on the media contacts whose audience matches that of the client or company. When feasible, consider offering exclusives to a certain media. This fosters a mutually-beneficial relationship that may prove to ease future collaboration and support.
PRoTip: Constantly update your company’s media contacts and arrange them according to genres and industry for ease of access and retrieval.
Why is my press release not picked up by the media?
Crafting the perfect press release and sending it out to the relevant media are only the first step. Follow up needs to be done. Call, send follow up emails and arrange for meet-ups or even interviews if need be. The reality is that the media receive hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases a day. A successful PR practitioner is a go-getter with a network of contacts, not a passive desktop warrior.
When planning for communication strategies and when to send out releases, always take note of the different lead times for different publications and productions. With content already planned months prior to publishing time, approaching the media at the last minute is a very risky and rather inconsiderate move.
PRoTip: When releases are turned down, take the trouble to find out why and fine-tune the pitching approach next time.
If it’s organically newsworthy, it probably does not require much effort to push. However, a poorly-written press release, incorrect targeting and haphazard follow-ups would be the undoing of other great PR efforts.